Pick up a copy of the March 20, 2015 edition of USA Today, and you’ll find a special section titled Race Together, which is full of stats, quotes and questions focused on race. Visit one of the 7,300 Starbucks stores in the U.S. and your coffee cup might say #RaceTogether on it.
These elements are all related to a new campaign designed to ignite conversations on race relations, and it’s the brainchild of Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz.
Schultz’s request was simple: He asked baristas at Starbucks stores to voluntarily write #RaceTogether on the cups of coffee they serve as a way to start a conversation with customers on race relations. Schultz, through Starbucks, has a history of tackling major social issues, so while this project isn’t completely out of left field, it has gotten plenty of feedback FAST.
It’s earnings time again for Abercrombie and Fitch. This report, however, is the teen retailer’s first since former CEO Mike Jeffries stepped down amid concerns the company’s sometimes controversial cool factor wasn’t resonating with today’s consumers.
So, has the change in leadership and a more humble brand attitude made an impact? Not yet. For the critical fourth quarter holiday period, the company reported sales were down 14 percent. Upon that news, stock prices have hit a new 13-year low.
Posted in: Marketing
Did you know that consumers are willing to pay 31 percent more for food that is produced in ways that advance the wellbeing of the planet, humans and safety of food sources?
In fact, most Americans rely on their friends’ opinions and experiences over what they hear in the news, or the content they see being pushed out by food retailers, to educate themselves on a food company’s human and planet mindfulness.
That’s what Gibbs-rbb uncovered as part of the Conscious Consumer study. What does this mean for the food and beverage industry? Consumers’ purchasing habits are changing, and marketing professionals need to focus on telling the story of a brand – from soil to shelf.
Mobile has been at the center of digital programs for a while now, but 2015 may be the year it finally comes of age and fulfills its disruptive potential across a wider range of industries.
That said, too many digital programs are still considering mobile as just one more channel, rather than an entirely new platform requiring significant shifts in planning and execution.
We think there are three key areas that could be pitfalls for most organizations in the coming year.
Posted in: Marketing
While amazing athletic feats and extremely passionate fans define the sports world to most, this industry has also provided PR pros a variety of lessons and case studies on topics such as crisis communications, reputation management and transparency.
The latest example pulled from the sports back page involves NBA All-Star Kevin Durant. In a recent interview, Durant ripped into media asserting that, in addition to not knowing anything about basketball (though using more colorful language), media essentially were going to write what they wanted, despite what he would or would not say.
In the wake of the Brian Williams scandal and subsequent suspension from NBC News, I spoke with longtime newspaper reporter and editor, David Lyons, to get his take on the situation and how he currently views the media.
David has been a journalist for more than 40 years including as a writer at The Miami Herald, editor-in-chief at the Daily Business Review and his current position as editor-in-chief at EXECUTIVE South Florida magazine.
Below are my questions and his responses, which have been edited for brevity.
Posted in: Media
NBC’s emotional coverage of a tribute for a retired soldier who provided ground security in Iraq for Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams certainly had some unintended consequences. Namely, the discovery that Williams’ claims of being on a helicopter that was forced down by an RPG hit during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion in Iraq are false.
Over the past few years, hundreds of companies have developed programs to support and honor our military and returning soldiers. It is truly wonderful that our country has rallied to support those who make the tremendous sacrifice to defend our freedom and honor in the armed services. At the same time, aligning with the military is also a smart brand move. According to a 2014 Gallup poll, the military continues to rank as the most trusted institution in America, a position it’s held for almost 25 years.
However, as organizations consider the best way to honor, engage and support military families, there are unique considerations that come into play.
Posted in: Crisis Communication
Ithaca is gorges. That’s been the tourism slogan for this beautiful area in New York’s Finger Lakes for many years. But today, marketers are saying “Ithaca is refreshingly honest and exceedingly smart.”
Bruce Stoff, director of Ithaca/Tompkins County Convention & Visitors Bureau, is getting national attention from the likes of the TODAY Show on the Bureau’s decision to “surrender to winter.”
As reported in the Miami Herald, the website shows “Visit Ithaca” crossed out and an invitation to visit the Keys instead until things in Ithaca “thaw out.” The article lauds the area for truth in advertising.